By Stephanie Zacharek
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Charles Taylor
By Melissa Anderson
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By Amy Nicholson
By Sam Weisberg
I keep thinking I've seen Mighty Peking Manbefore, maybe on cable, or during the lost days of WABC's 4:30 monster-movie blocks, but I could be mistaken. After all, this 1977 mutant-ape movie was cooked up by Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers in order to cash in on Dino De Laurentiis's remake of King Kong, making mondo déjà vu not just a buzzy side effect of the bad acting and rubber-suit rampages but Mighty Peking Man's reason for being.
Restored to its original, cheesy grandeur (a shorter version was released in the U.S. as Goliathon), Peking Mantells a tragic tale of triangulation involving the eponymous 100-foot gorilla, a polyester-clad adventurer named Johnny Feng (The Killer's Danny Lee), and Samantha, a blond jungle babe (Evelyne Craft, of such exploitation films as Lady Dracula and The Maddest Car in the World). Peking Man and Samantha have clearly been vibing on each other for years, but after Johnny stumbles into their idyllic Himalayan refuge, Samantha learns the pleasure of human love, taking slow-motion runs with Johnny that end in the missionary position back at her cave. The forsaken Peking Man pitches a fit, but the poor goof's quickly soothed by his ex (she rubs her face on his improbably hairless palm, the rest of him being apparently a little too mighty), giving Johnny the mistaken impression that it's safe to bring both his trophies back to Hong Kong.
While you could use Mighty Peking Manas the basis for a blank-studies paper on amour foubetween white women and giant gorillas (also known in the transgresso-industrial complex as the Other), or perhaps as the peg for a look at Asian manwhite woman movie romances, from the cheap seats Peking Manadds up to just your basic groaning good time.
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